How to Make a Paper Mache Mask

Painting papier-mache mask

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Overview
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

Help your child make a mask using their own face as a mold. You can also make a mask using a balloon as a base. Not only can this be a fun and educational craft, but it is also a great way to make decorations and accessories for Halloween. To allow ample drying time, you will need a few days to complete this project.

Tip

To avoid a big mess, cover your work surface well with newspaper laid on top of wax paper, freezer paper, or even on an old tablecloth or shower curtain.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Paintbrush

Materials

  • Aluminum foil or a round balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paper mache paste
  • Acrylic paint

Instructions

  1. Make a Mold of the Face or Balloon

    Tear off a piece of aluminum foil at least twice as long as the subject's face, and fold it in half. Use the subject's face as a mold by gently pressing the double layer of tin foil over it. Wad up the newspaper and place it inside the curved section of the foil mold and lay it on your work surface.

    If you prefer to use a balloon as a mold for your mask, start out by blowing up a balloon and tying it closed. Find a bowl or cup your balloon can sit on while you work on it. Completely cover the cup or bowl with plastic wrap so the paper mache does not stick to it.

  2. Tear the Newspaper Into Strips

    Tear newspaper into strips about 1 or 2 inches wide and between 4 and 8 inches long. Choose a paper mache recipes and make it, and then follow step-by-step directions to cover your foil mold or balloon.

  3. Cover the Mold

    Cover the foil mold with at least three or four layers of paper mache, letting it dry completely between layers. If you are working with a balloon, only cover half of the balloon with paper mache unless you want to make an entire head.

    Tip

    If you are working with a foil mold, make sure not to press too hard or it may lose its shape.

  4. Make the Features

    Once you have on one layer of paper mache and it is dry, use various supplies to make dimensional facial features on your balloon. You can make a nose, ears, thick eyebrows, lips, etc. Use cardboard, newspaper, foil, or other items. Use masking tape to hold everything in place. Once you have created all the facial features on your balloon mask, continue to add three or four more layers of paper mache.

  5. Finalize the Mask

    Once the paper mache is dry, the mask can be painted and decorated however you like. If you used a balloon base, pop the balloon and remove any loose pieces. Cut out eye holes before you decorate it and punch holes on either side to add ribbon or elastic to fit around your head. Use a variety of craft supplies to add some personal touches to your masks, such as yarn, fabric scraps, beads, glitter, and paper—your imagination is the limit!